Will Syria fall easily to ISIL?

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By : Bikram Vohra

President Obama kind of put everything into one word vis-a-vis Syria and the mess it is in. Fantasyland. So he implied saying in an interview that whether or not the United States had decided last year to back moderate rebel forces, the scenario would not have changed. Obama also denied that there was any connection between the security vacuum that permitted the ISIL to scamper into urban Iraq territory and move toward Baghdad with consummate ease and the American reluctance to commit itself to helping Syria get out from under the Assad heel and now vulnerable to much the same over-run by the ISIL.

“I think this notion that somehow there was this ready-made moderate Syrian force that was able to defeat Bashar Assad is simply not true, and, you know, we have spent a lot of time trying to work with a moderate opposition in Syria,” the president said in the CBS interview. The point there is that time is one thing but how tangible was the support offered? Clearly, it wasn’t enough.

While one might be inclined to accept that there may be a kernel of truth in the absence of an identifiable moderate force there is also an equally large kernel of truth in the fact that intelligence should have indicated a build-up of this size on two fronts and the US could have then made some attempt to prevent it getting out of hand.

Mr. Obama has distanced himself from the issue of a nation crumbling before eyes of the world by not taking sides and also sent out a signal that moral support is the only tangible for now. While a major part of Iraq has already fallen, surely it makes sense to create a plan for Syria even it means a little bit of hand holding with Assad. The prickly pear in this fruit basket is that the US is now unable to choose what is worse; a president who has over 200,000 deaths on his conscience or the ISIL which would create a blockade against American influence in these two nations.

It would not be untrue to say that the US would much prefer secretly giving Assad a hand at this moment to ensure that the country does not go the Iraq way…but how much country will be left after the propped up Assad has finished his business?

Look what is happening in Iraq and how swiftly it has been taken. This crisis has raised questions about US foot dragging in Syria last year, when opposition forces — and some members of Congress were asking for help both military and strategic amid mounting evidence that Assad had used chemical weapons against his own civilians. If the US had been able to band together the moderates (and there are enough of them) in Syria and create a third front against Assad and the ISIL, it might have slowed things down. But now, you get a sense of impending doom for Syria in that the moderates could be history caught between the bullets of the militants and the crushing singularity of the Assad regime.

Now, the biter has bit. Obama biggest worry is domestic as the ISIL units have cantered into Iraq by going to come through war torn Syria and done it without resistance. Using modern social platforms they have inducted foreigners including a large number of Australians who have joined the ISIL ranks and ready to fight, are a cause of homeland anxiety.

The US president, Barack Obama, has said he “deeply concerned” about the terrorism threat posed by these Australian jihadis fighting in Syria on their return to Australia. It will be easy for them to enter the US.

“There is no doubt the problem in Syria is one that we have been paying a lot of attention to over the last couple of years, as you see jihadis coming in from Europe and as far as Australia to get trained and then going back into their home countries,” Obama said in an interview on CNN.

American airports have been alerted accordingly.

Will that be enough?


Email: Bikram@asianlite.com

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